Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I've really struggled with this blog, obviously.  I post infrequently.  I ramble.  I skip out on y'all for months at a time.  Nothing is coherent.  It's just been a struggle.  I have seriously considered deleting it and just walking away...but then I get a little nudge from someone higher than I...and I don't.

The title here is "Anna Joy's Journey"...mainly because I couldn't come up with something better.  I'm not creative at all...  But it dawned on me recently that I'm on MANY journeys right now.  I'm on a weight loss journey, a journey in marriage, a journey in learning what it means to be a submissive wife, a journey of motherhood, a homeschool journey, and most importantly- a journey to draw nearer to God.

I look to others for advice and encouragement when I'm going through something--and somewhere I turn frequently is to blogs written by Christian women.  Someone out there has dealt with whatever it is I'm dealing with.  As one of my sweet friends has taught me- "God uses your junk to help other people through their junk".  It's very true.

I'm participating in a weekly Bible study now, going through the book of Ephesians.  The purpose of this study is to find our identity in Christ.  I always thought that sounded silly, but the more I learn, the more I see how important it is to seek God's purpose for my life.  Part of getting there is finding and utilizing your spiritual gifts.  (Another thing I thought was silly until recently.)  It has been shown to me that I have a gift for children's ministry, and I believe I also have a gift for encouragement.

I doubt there are many children reading this blog, so....

I have prayerfully considered, and now feel led to use this blog as a vehicle for encouraging others in their daily walk.  Whether that be their marriage, motherhood, health, or faith...I feel God will use this blog to bring others closer to Him.

Now don't expect me to start getting all high and mighty.  I'm no Pharisee.  I struggle daily, and that's the point.  We all struggle, and we need to know how to get through the day-to-day grind of life.

I pray The Lord will give me the words to encourage your spirits.  Talk to you soon!

Be blessed!
Anna Joy

Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm typing this up on my Tuesday morning...but here it is!  


The weather:  Cool (well, cool for summer) and rainy...though I did manage to get a sunburn at Bones' baseball game on Saturday.  They say the heat is coming...we'll see I guess!

 Right now I am:  Waiting on my food to settle a bit so I can work out, getting ready to plan my weekly menu and make my grocery list, ans staring down a mountain of laundry to be folded.

 Thinking:   That in this moment, I'm glad to be here in Misawa.  :)

 On my reading pile:  Still my Romans Bible study...I'm starting another Romans study with the women at church on Thursday.  I rarely made it to the studies at our last church because it was just too inconvenient...but at this church there's childcare and it's during the day, making it MUCH easier!

 On my TV:   Nothing here.

 What I found while surfing the net:  Learning a lot about "clean eating".  I thought it was going to be hard, but I didn't realize that we already essentially ate "clean".  I just need to switch back to using all whole wheat/whole grain things instead of using white flour.

 On the menu for this week:    Haven't had a chance to make my menu yet...I'll post in when I do.

On my to-do list:  Some homeschool planning (I think we're going to switch our Science studies...but I'm not sure yet), folding laundry, and general upkeep.  I did get the house really good and clean, here's hoping the kids let it stay that way!  haha!

In the craft basket:  Still nothing.  I'm still working on getting everything into my day.  We'll figure it out in time!

Looking forward to this week:  I start working with a personal trainer this week!  It's something I swore I'd never do, but I'm really looking forward to it.  I met with her on Saturday to chat about health history, fitness goals and whatnot.  She's great and I'm really looking forward to lifting weights. Also really looking forward to Bones' baseball pictures/game on Saturday.  This past Saturday he got a hit every time he went up to bat!  He's never even managed a hit in practice before so he was SO excited!  Even made it home off of one hit.  So proud of him! 

Looking around the House:   It's MUCH cleaner now.  I even got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor yesterday.  I have a couple baskets of laundry to fold today, but other than that things are good.  I do want to rearrange the living room...but we'll have to see if I can talk The Hubs into that. 

On my prayer list: A few friends going through some things, a friend having marriage issues, my parents, my children (Bones is asking to be baptized.  He has been for a couple years, but now he's ready to talk to the pastor about it.  It's his decision alone to make...so we'll see what happens.), my church's upcoming "Youth Rally"

Bible verse/Devotional: 
Women of faith
Dorcas…was full of good works and almsdeeds…and all the widows stood by [Peter] weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them– Acts 9:36,39
Very soon Dorcas would be raised from the dead by the apostle Peter. Doubtless this is at least partially why Luke includes this story in his inspired narrative.
However, at least half the story here also seems to be Dorcas’ life, as much as her resurrection to life. Dorcas, as much as the apostle himself, is the focus of Luke’s narrative. Why?
Not because of the many good works which she had planned to do, but that she had done and, in fact, “was full of.” How many of us have noble desires, charitable plans…but they never find their way into actions which help or encourage others?
It is easy to have good intentions, but it is another thing to serve and sacrifice for other people. Dorcas did not know the time of her death, but she did know the purpose for life — to honor God by seeking the lowest place in His kingdom.
What a testimony to this woman’s faith, that she is fervently missed and publicly mourned by the very widows to whom she had labored with such faithfulness! She was not surrounded by the rich or mighty or well-connected, but by the lowly and helpless and castaways of society. Yet Dorcas had  a full life — full of the good works that she had done in the name of her Lord.
What and who will you leave behind you? A lifetime of good works or just a stream of good intentions?
(via BBH)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013



Lately I am just SO burnt out.

I know without a shadow of doubt that God has called me to be at home discipling these young people He's let me borrow for awhile...but Oi!

Terrible two's--schmerible shoos (or something to that effect).  5 year old KK is giving me a run for my money lately.  I know she doesn't mean to do it, and for some reason my nerves are 10 different kinds of frazzled right now so that's not helping. 

We intend to do school year round, but this summer has been crazy!  This is the busiest summer we've ever had I think.  With KK in two dance classes, Bones playing baseball and wanting to sign up for every camp under the sun (arts & crafts, paintball, archery, etc) AND starting football soon, carting the kids to and from VBS repeatedly, The Hubs playing softball, us helping out friends with lots of things, finding a new church, and me diving head first into working out--it's exhausting.

I tell The Hubs all the time that I'm great at multi-tasking, which is a bald faced LIE.  If I get focused on something, it tends to consume me and everything else falls to the side.  Lately it's been working out.  I am consumed with getting healthy (which is going to take quite a bit of work on my part!) and tracking food.  I work out at least an hour a day-which is totally fine...but then I go to log my food or workouts and get caught up in the message boards and "social" aspects of MyFitnessPal.  Or I start to make my menu and look for good tasting but healthy recipes that will satisfy the whole family...and I get sucked into the internet.

While I'm sucked in there my household duties fall to the side, laundry starts piling up, dishes aren't being done in a timely manner, and homeschooling isn't happening as often as I would like.  Same happens if I focus on homeschooling 100%...then I stop working out, we eat out too much, chores don't get done. 

I really just need to prioritize and give it to God--which is yet another area I'm slacking in.  I've not been reading my Bible nearly as much as I should.  I'm serving others first, then myself, and nearly forgetting to serve the Lord in there.  It's supposed to be the complete opposite!  JOY!  J-esus first, O-thers second, Y-ourself last.

It's really a matter of self-control, and I'm seriously lacking there.  Funny (or not) because that is exactly what we were studying in Titus in Sunday School, and then the pastor touched on it in his sermon regarding "Conduct of a Christian".

I need to be consumed with Jesus.  Be consumed in my Bible.  Be consumed in serving my family.  Everything will fall into place as long as I give it all to the One it belongs to.  :)

How do I study my Bible, teach my children, serve my husband, clean my house, and workout all in a day?  Any tips or suggestions on how to make it all work?

Blessings to you!  <3>

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

First of all, WOW!  I haven't blogged for the sake of blogging in a LONG time.  And it has been years probably since I have linked up to my sweet friend Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  She is living the dream now, and I am trying SO hard not to be jealous.  Just have to keep reminding myself 10 years and I'll be in her shoes!  :)

The weather:  Well...let's just say the weather in Misawa so far isn't as horrible as we'd expected it to be.  People made winter sound absolutely awful--and while the weather systems do come from Siberia and leave us with a lot of snow, it isn't as bad as we expected.  Summer isn't either.  It's mostly rainy and cool.  On the days it does warm up (into the 70's) and the sun is out, it can feel pretty darn hot.  I'd say we've acclimated quite well.  

 Right now I am: Typing up this post before I take a shower and head to bed.  It's been a busy day.  KK has 2 dance classes on Monday, and the house has been in shambles so I've been trying to get it cleaned up.  Worked out hard too, so now I'm tired and ready to hit the hay!

 Thinking:   I've been really homesick lately.  Summertime tends to do that to me no matter where we live.  I seriously miss America though...and feel like Oklahoma is calling my heart home.  I'm so ready to just settle down, have a little farm, and get on with life.  Today I was thinking about it though and it dawned on me that even that will be temporary.  Someday my Father will call me home, and that is when I'll finally truly be settled.  

 On my reading pile:  So many things! For Bible I'm reading through the book of Romans for a study on my own, and now I'm reading through Job for Sunday School.  Job can be so depressing though!  As for other books, I'm reading "Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst, and "A Perfect Mess" by Lisa Harper.

 On my TV: Well, if you know me you know I don't watch much TV.  Nothing really.  The Hubs and the kids are hooked on "Take Home Chef" right now on Netflix.  So if I'm watching TV, that's probably what it is.  Bones is really loving "Leave it to Beaver"...probably because he has that same mischievous streak.  KK is just convinced that people really used to be gray.  ;)

 What I found while surfing the net:  Nothing really...I've not been doing much "surfing" lately.  If I'm online it's mostly Facebook or MyFitnessPal.  

 On the menu for this week: I've been trying to prove to a couple people that I'm not "dieting"...I'm still eating perfectly normal foods--just making better choices in doing so.  I'm cooking things differently, and weighing everything I use right now...but in time I'll know what's what.

Monday - Sweet and Sour Chicken with rice
Tuesday -  Mexican mac-n-cheese with salad
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Chicken broccoli noodle casserole and salad
Friday - Taco salad

Saturday - Pizza
Sunday - Leftovers

On my to-do list:  Finish organizing the homeschool stuff, laundry (gotta fold Mount Neverest.  Oi!), vacuuming, making BBQ sauce, and working out.  Also need to return all the library books.

In the craft basket:  Nothing at the moment, but I did realize tonight that july is nearly over.  Winter will be here before I know it so I need to get my yarn and hooks out and get some scarves and hats made.  Sandra also has some really cute dishcloths, and I think I want to make some...not exactly like hers...but find a cute pattern and whip some up.  (I'm a copycat, can you tell?)

Looking forward to this week:  The Hubs graduates from college on Wednesday, and we're going to the ceremony.  I'm excited for him!  I'm also honestly looking forward to getting this house back in order.  Looking forward to weighing in and taking measurements on the 28th, another month down!  Really looking forward to Sunday School and service at our new church.

Looking around the House:   It's a big ol' messy mess.  Seriously.  I'm terrible at focusing on more than one thing at a time.  I've been so focused on working out lately that I've been neglecting my chores, and it shows.  On top of that, last week was VBS, plus it's summer...and we've been busy with "lifeschooling"...excuses, I know...but I digress.  Tomorrow is a slow day for me, so I should be able to get mostly if not all caught up.  Then I need to find a way to fit everything back into my day.  Prioritizing is not my forte.

On my prayer list: Several friends who have made their needs known to me are on my list, a sweet friend whose father passed away needs lifted, family and their health, my parents as they go forward with their divorce, our church and their upcoming Youth Rally outreach to Japanese youth, our leaders in DC as they make choices for our country, myself for self-control and contentment.  

Bible verse/Devotional: 
Facing Temptation
I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?– Job 31:1
A lustful look is the beginning of most sins. It was an unguarded look which led to the fall of Achan into covetousness, and David into adultery. A covetous glance soon leads to covetous thoughts, which soon lead to covetous plans, which soon lead to covetous actions.
Job, therefore, had determined to cut off the sin of covetousness at its root, by promising himself never even to look at a single woman in a lustful way. This covenant with his eyes, he rhetorically asserts, will inevitably guard him from lustful thoughts about other women.
Job’s personal commitment to overcome a besetting sin of almost every man is convicting. But it is also encouraging, because the fact that he made such a covenant means that it is possible to fulfill his end of the agreement. Believer, know this: it is possible—although it will require self-crucifixion and constant self-watch—to overcome the sin of lust.
Will it require a sober and self-searching covenant with your heart, before God? Yes. Will it mean giving up casual glances and lustful thoughts? Yes. But it is possible!
So the question that Job’s integrity puts before us is this: do I love God enough to forego the temporary and deceitful pleasures of lustful stares, in order to fix my gaze upon God? Am I willing to enter into a personal covenant to that effect today?  (via BBH)

Sunday, June 30, 2013


So...as of the 28th of June, I am down 17 pounds and 9.25 inches (4 inches off my waist alone!!!)

I cried when I saw the number on the scale.  Bones and KK cheered for me.  It's 19 pounds to my first mini-goal, and I'm well on my way.  I've still got a long journey ahead of me with 70+ pounds to lose total...and I'm sure huge parts of the journey will feel uphill.  Thankfully I have an incredibly supportive husband, 2 kids to cheer me on, and great friends who believe in me. 

My pants are loose, my wedding bands and promise ring are getting loose, my shirts are no longer skin tight, I have more energy, my skin is starting to clear up...and I'm pretty much a lot happier.

I'm learning a TON about nutrition and how to fuel my body properly, which is great because I've never thought about it.  It's a bit more complicated than just "calories in vs calories out", but I'm figuring it out.  I've not been able to work out or eat well since Wednesday, as I caught some sort of stomach bug.  It was awful!  I seem to be feeling better now, and if that holds true tomorrow I plan on starting my new workout routine for  few months.

Lots of fun dance-y cardio, some weight lifting, and running!  Me, running!  Crazy I know...but The Hubs is positive I can do it.  I'll be doing the Couch2-5K program with him cheering me along.  He got me some running shoes, and I'll lace them up for my first run on Wednesday.

For now though, I need to get to sleep!  Summer is my crazy busy season with KK in 2 dance classes now, Bones having baseball practices and games and participating in a few other classes, and The Hubs with softball practices and games.  Whew!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

No more Mondays

First of all, hi!  Seems I come around every 6 months or so and dust off the cobwebs, lock the door and head out.  I have got to be better about that...but seriously, I am not a "blogger"...and I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing here.  Bear with me while I try to figure this all out again.  :)

Back in 2011 I started on a journey to lose weight.  My downfall came in that I tried to change everything all at once.  That overwhelmed me and I became discouraged and gave up.  I kept trying to restart, but kept overwhelming myself.  I have this quirk that I can only start new things on Mondays.  So I'd start on Monday...mess up on Wednesday...and fall off the wagon promising to try again the next Monday.  I got tired of the cycle and I decided I was just going to have to be okay with being bigger than I liked.  After all, everyone in my family is overweight...so I was just genetically doomed.

Moving to Japan has been quite an experience in a lot of ways.  There are so very few overweight people here.  I always feel like I'm being stared at or judged for being overweight (though I'm probably not.  More often than not I'm actually ignored.).  Even with the Americans here on base there are far fewer overweight people than on a base stateside.  It makes me feel pretty self-conscious, and I have a pretty negative level of self esteem to begin with.  

At the end of April I wound up in the UCC for a migraine that had been going on for 4 days and would not stop.  I was given medicines and able to rest awhile.  The doctor came in the room, looked at me and point blank said "Mrs Bennett, you're obese".  We talked about ways I needed to work on changing that, and how to stop my migraines.  It wasn't intentional...but that was the last day I drank a Coke.  Quitting Coke turned out to be a blessing in disguise though, because it made me make better food choices.  A juicy cheeseburger just does not pair well with a glass of water.  Coke was like my "gateway drink"...leading me to bad food choices.   I didn't work out or anything.  Just stopped my 3 a day Coke habit. 

Then someone from church posted pictures from the Mother's Day service and I was just appalled at how big I was.  I just stared at the pictures and cried.  How did this happen? I have a million and one excuses.  My parents are never, ever, ever getting back together. I'm just supposed to be fat.  It's genetic.  I moved halfway around the world. I’m tired. I’ve been sick a ton. I lost nearly every friend I had in Ohio which left me seriously depressed. I just had zero motivation. I left church for a while. It felt like I lost myself for a long while.  

At the end of May, The Hubs explained to me that I had already taken one big step in getting myself healthier, so I could take another one.  I started reading Candace Cameron Bure's book "Reshaping it All". It's about putting God at the forefront of my struggles.  Learning how to do that has helped immensely!  If It weren't for His giving me self-control, there is no way I could pass up Coke or chocolate.  My food choices are much more intentional, and I praise Him before every meal for helping me.  I plan on reading "Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst next.  My best friend talked me into running the stairs in our building with her.  The first night I thought I was going to die. When we finished I came back to my house and just collapsed in the floor.  But the next night she pushed me again.  For a month now she's been pushing me nearly every day to work out.  I even put on my "big girl panties" and went to the gym to lift weights.  

Two weeks ago I decided to make another small change.  I knew I was burning calories, but I had no idea how many I was eating.  I started to track my food and was shocked!  No wonder my body was holding on to everything!  I was eating only about 700 calories a day, not anywhere near enough for my body to thrive.  It took some doing, but I'm now making sure to eat between 1200-1700 calories a day.  I've had a few bad days where I don't get enough in...but I've not gone over yet.  The funny thing is even though I'm eating more...I feel lighter, and I have more energy.  

The 28th is the end of my first month of working out.  The Hubs made me a deal that if I stuck it out, come next month he'd do Couch 2 5K with me.  I've not run since high school, and I'm afraid I'll hold him back.  He's so proud of me, and so supportive and he doesn't care.  He just wants to help me.  My next "weigh in day" is the 28th as well, and The Hubs will also track my measurements.  I think it's been easier this time because I've taken it in small bites.  Just tiny changes at a time. 

Even if I have a tiny mess up, I just keep going right after it.  No more Mondays for me.  :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

To The Hubs...

Dear Hubs,

Six years ago we had just moved into our first apartment together.  You were 22 and I was 18.  We were just a couple of kids in love.  The next day you were off work, and we had an extra $93.  We decided to head to the County and get married.  We got up, tripped over boxes, dug out clothes, got Bones dressed, ate some cereal--most likely Fruity Pebbles--loaded up in the Blazer and we were off. 

The wait wasn't long once we got there.  The Justice had an incredibly thick Spanish accent and I couldn't understand a word she was saying.  I mumbled through what I thought were vows, and when she stopped talking I took it as my cue and just blurted out "I do".  We signed our paperwork, paid the county, and that was that.  We were legally married.  We went to the base, got me and Bones into the military systems, got my ID, and went to the beach.  I made Hamburger Helper for dinner. All in all, aside from the getting married thing it was a fairly normal day.

I know sometimes marriages get mundane.  Sort of stale.  Full of boring, normal days.  Cleaning, appointments, raising kids, taking out the trash, walking the dog, bills, dinners.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  When you're young and naive you think "love will get us through!"...but the truth of the matter is marriage is hard.  It takes work.  And not the 50/50 kind...it takes the 120/120 kind.  I'm blessed to have married someone who truly give it his all. 

I want to tell you something I probably don't say near often enough.  I LOVE being your wife.  I am amazingly blessed to share in your triumphs and fails.  I am proud to be your wife.  You're an incredibly selfless man, often sacrificing things you'd like so others can have more.  You're one of the kindest, most helpful people on the planet.  You're an incredible husband and a wonderful father. 

You've supported me through all my schemes, even when I know you think they're dumb.  You encouraged me to go to school, so I did.  For Medical Assisting. And teaching. And Paralegal. And Accounting.  You encouraged me to keep trying, and were okay with me quitting when we realized it truly wasn't my forte (passing out COLD in phlebotomy class, anyone?).  When I suggested making food from scratch, you looked terrified (what was it you used to say?  I could burn a pot of boiling water?) but encouraged me.  When I started making laundry detergent and other miscellaneous things, you encouraged me--aside from the time you thought I made mustard gas and you ran out of the house...hahaha!  You don't make me feel bad for getting fat, or owning a thousand unused workout programs which really gives me no excuse.  I'm a pretty terrible housekeeper and you seem to tolerate that well.  You have been supportive of homeschooling the kids (and even become somewhat of a homeschool advocate!), though you completely disagreed with it in the beginning.  You've let me grow, and find myself...and I appreciate that!

6 years isn't that long in the grand scheme of things...but we've accomplished a lot in that time.  We've moved 5 times.  We've lived in 3 states and 2 countries.  We had a baby.  We made an incredibly difficult and heartbreaking choice regarding our future family.  We found God again.  We bought a car (and paid off 2 cars!)...and 5 months later put it in storage to buy another car.  We've fought, a LOT.  We've made up a lot.  We've redecorated the house a few dozen times.  We've dealt with loss.  We've gotten through health scares, and marital problems, and familial problems.  You've forgiven me for some BIG mistakes.  We've gotten through a lot...  You are absolutely my rock.  I don't know how I'd get through my days without you.

When we first got married, many people told us we were too young.  That there was no way it would last.  A tiny piece of me believed them.  Look around us at this broken, shattered world.  It would be easy to throw in the towel and justify our quitting.  Know what though?  I'm thankful we got married so young!  We've grown up together.  We've grown into each other.  And in the end, God willing...we will have had more time together.  I can see us in 50 years in our rocking chairs on the porch...laughing about all the things that seem so important now.  You're worth fighting for Mister.  We may be young...well, I am anyway.  You're getting old!  ;)

I know our marriage isn't perfect, but it's ours.  I am so blessed to have this time with you.  I love you more each day...and I still get butterflies.

Love you most!  Happy Anniversary!  <3 p="p">